Pool Lift Installation
They say knowing is half the battle! This is especially true when it comes to ADA pool lifts. “ADA Compliant,” “ADA Certified,” or “ADA Approved,” any of the other confusing terms that marketers love to invent! Without knowing, you may end up purchasing a product that meets ADA guidelines, but based on your particular pool or installation, may not be ADA compliant. So… Let’s get you In the Know!
Pool Lift Installation Requirements:
The first step in a pool lift installation is understanding the requirements that make up ADA compliance. ADA compliance can be expressed as a simple equation:
C (compliance) = P (product requirements) + I (Installation requirements)
The installation of your pool lift is equally as important as the product being installed. Since this is a pool lift installation guide, we’ll skip the product requirements part of the ADA (types of pool lifts) and focus on pool lift installation requirements. The installation requirements for pool lifts are in two parts; means of access and application requirements.
Means of Access
The Means of Access requirements are dictated by the size of your pool. Pools with a pool wall perimeter of under 300 linear feet are required to have one means of access, while pools with walls longer than 300 linear feet are required to have two. To compute your requirement, take an accurate perimeter measurement, all the way around your pool.
Pools with over 300 ft of wall are required to have more than one approved method of entry so be aware of how long your pool is before arranging for ADA compliance. The approved methods are either a ramp [yeah, right!] or a pool lift. If you are required to have two means of access, you can have one lift and one ramp, or two pool lifts.
The Application Requirements are not as simple and straight forward as the Means of Access requirements. These requirements define the placement and accessibility and are very specific about what exact measurements you need for each part and placement of the lift, chair, and how far into the water the chair goes. These specifications are found on the ADA website and should be closely followed. Measurements should be calculated prior to buying the lift since each pool has different lengths and depths that may affect ADA compliance.
Types of Lifts:
Currently there are two different “acceptable” lifts: permanent and portable. The reason I say “acceptable” is that recently the regulations were changed to require portable lifts to be fastened down. Current law states that all pool lifts must be “fixed”. In the regs, attachment is defined thusly: “…the [pool] lift must be attached to the deck in some manner so that if the space were turned upside down, the lift would remain attached to the deck.” That being said, in cases where the operator can prove that those regulations cannot be “readily achievable,” a portable lift may be acceptable, but your inspector may still want you to attach it securely to the deck.
One very important note is that if you have a spa and a pool, you need two separate lifts so that both would always have a means of access. Sharing a lift between a pool and a spa goes against one of the most important parts of the ADA specifications: being able to use a means of access form outside and inside the water, without any assistance.
Fixed Pool Lift Installation:
Now that you’re In the Know of pool lift installation regulations, you’re ready to start planning the installation. Let’s get started!
The first part of installing the anchor of a lift is drilling the holes in the concrete pool deck. You may need small holes from a hammer drill, or one large hole from a core drill for a pivot anchor (pictured above). Make sure that the concrete slab thickness is sufficient for the installation, at least 4″ of concrete in good condition.
Next, make sure that there is nothing under the area where you are planning on installing the lift. This could include anything from electrical wiring to plumbing for the pool. Install the deck anchor into your deck using the specified instructions for bonding the installation and, depending on the installation make sure you have the proper anchoring cement or epoxy on hand. Allow sufficient time for the cement or epoxy to cure according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Once the mounting anchor(s) have been installed – consult the manufacturer’s installation instructions to place the lift into position. Being extra careful at this step is wise; if the pool lift were to dislodge from the deck while in use, you could have a tragic rescue situation on your hands.
Portable Pool Lift Fixed Installation:
Depending on your particular pool situation, and perhaps on your particular inspector, you may need to secure your portable pool lift to the deck by the use of a retrofit installation kit available from the pool lift manufacturer.
Moving and Positioning a portable pool lift
Portable lifts are rolled back and forth using heavy duty locking wheels. If you are moving the portable lift away from the pool, during certain events, for instance, each time the lift is re-positioned, you need to make sure that the pool lift is in compliance with the ADA installation requirements.
It may be helpful to paint boxes or squares on the concrete to designate areas poolside and away from poolside. When your pool lift has been moved back to the correct distance from the edge of the pool, secure the brackets and lock the wheels in place. Trained operators should be the only persons allowed to move and secure a pool lift.
Time to Get Swimming!
If you’ve managed to get through all of these steps while following the ADA regulations and installation instructions, you’re almost done. You’ve solved for “C” (remember our little equation?) and are officially ADA compliant! Now just remember to maintain a regular maintenance schedule, keep the batteries charged and you will always have very happy swimmers, patrons, and even inspectors!
Disclaimer: Do not use this guide as the sole instruction on ADA Lift installation. Closely follow the most recent ADA guidelines on the ADA website as well as the installation instructions that came with your specific unit. In The Swim® is not responsible for any damages caused by improper lift installation.
InTheSwim Staff Blogger